The story is one of a remarkably persistent group of young entrepreneurs that never said ‘die’
In a Facebook post written by Co-founders Sean Hoo and Jeson Lee published last night, the startup reflected on the events and how they impacted the company.
“This fiasco has made us lose our product, a pen to paper investment deal that was much needed, an oncoming nationwide partnership, ruined our reputation and due to the lost of funding we couldn’t afford to pay our co workers and therefore they would have to leave the company one after another. We were literally at a stage that was worse than being scratch.”
To make matters worse, GrabGas says a private company took legal action for them to change their name.
Now HaloGas, the company was, for all intents and purposes, dead. According to the post, the team moved all operations to Facebook and at its darkest hour only had two people remaining.
Also Read: Why I did not cover the GrabGas controversy
Founded in April 2016, HaloGas had to make a decision to move-on or rebuild the startup. It decided to keep plugging away and the company credits the loyalty of one of its early investors as a reason the team could try to patch the problems.
While the controversy nearly destroyed HaloGas, there were some silver linings to the fiasco.
There is no such thing as bad news
While the HaloGas experience would generously be considered a high-risk marketing strategy, it did get the startup’s name out there. The company went from a complete unknown to a household name within a matter of days.
As a platform that helps people order gas for cooking, the Founders said they suddenly found themselves with a host of drivers who wanted to join the platform; solving at least one half of the chicken and egg problem.
Traction began to grow organically as the press coverage (including a series of stories from e27) did wonders for the startup’s SEO search results.
The positive events, “actually boosted up our confidence so well that we managed to keep ourselves calm to think and see it through,” wrote Hoo and Lee.
HaloGas also began to perform like an extremely lean startup. With a low marketing budget, the company asked its drivers to place stickers on their cars as advertising.
They also leveraged the previously-mentioned loyal investor for connections and, according to the company, it can now supply 80 per cent of the Klang Valley (the geographical area around Kuala Lumpur) with cooking gas.
After the debacle, HaloGas appears to have righted the ship. The company says it is growing faster than it was before the controversy and it has a roadmap to enter the cities of Johor and Penang in the near future.
Should HaloGas continue on its current path, it will be a remarkable comeback story. The blog post from last August should have killed the company, but the ‘never-die’ attitude seems to be bearing fruit with Hoo and Lee showing signs they were able to navigate some extremely treacherous waters.
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